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Mexican Caribbean city beat the likes of Paris and New York
Cancun ends the year on a high after being announced as the second most popular destination in the world for 2021.
The ranking is derived from a statistical report compiled by Forward Keys, which tracks airline and tourism trends in real time.
The top 20 is an insightful look at what has been a turbulent year for the tourism industry. While considerably more successful than in 2020, when the industry practically shut down for a year, the absence of some generally high-ranking countries and the rise of others could be a glimpse of the years to come. It remains to be seen whether many destinations, including Cancun, will be able to capitalize on the growth recorded this year.
Cancun fell behind Dubai, which successfully held its top spot as of 2019. Its important role as a business hub combined with a steadily growing leisure tourism industry has made it a stronger year than most. since it reopened in August 2020. Low number of infections, and high vaccination rates make the Middle Eastern destination a good option for many travelers.
But Cancun wasn’t even in the top twenty in 2019, and its meteoric rise has placed it at the center of the global tourism industry. Airlines across the United States and now Europe are scrambling to send new direct flights to the city, and hotels, both upscale and budget-friendly, are moving in droves.
Mexico has the power of freedom to tip success in its favor. The relaxed COVID rules and the absence of entry barriers have made it a no-brainer for many American travelers seeking sun and sand. But action-hungry Europeans are also making themselves felt across the Atlantic. With many European hotspots still closed, restricted or offering a barrier to re-entry, the transatlantic journey promises to be more attractive despite the distance.
Those heading to Cancun for what is set to be one of the busiest in history should be prepared.
it will be packed
The state of Quintana Roo expects 6.1 million tourists in the first four months of 2022. That’s a lot of people, even spread out across the state.
Hotels anticipate almost 100% capacity during the winter season, which means you might be fighting for wiggle room at the resort bar. Expect the beaches to be extremely busy and the restaurants to be full blast while you are there.
There are new hotels popping up
With the massive increase in tourism, major hotel brands see the potential for new accommodation in the region. Hilton has just returned to Cancun after a ten-year hiatus and is planning seven more properties over the next year and a half, ranging from all-inclusive high-end luxury hotels to budget hotels.
Flights depart from everywhere
Airlines across the United States are abandoning domestic routes like flies. If you live in a small town in the United States, it will likely be easier to fly to Cancun than to some nearby hubs.
Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but major carriers like American and Delta are all eyeing Cancun and the Mexican Caribbean. Low-cost carrier Frontier is leading the charge, however, adding flights from all over the United States.
European carriers like Aeroflot and Iberia have also added routes to Cancun, with a few major hubs like Barcelona offering daily flights to the city. Cancun Airport has broken its own record for daily operations four times in the past week.
Expect airports to be crowded and taxi fares to skyrocket.
Everything is still lit green
Mexico manages its COVID strategy by assigning each state a traffic light color. Red, orange, yellow or green. Red would mean the state is heavily restricted and only essential activities are allowed while green allows things to run at full capacity, while still promoting good sanitary protocols.
Currently, the vast majority of states, including Quintana Roo’s state of Cancun, are under the green light designation. However, with a large number, the possibility of an outbreak is greater. Omicron looms over the industry, and with many unknowns, the governor stressed respect for tourist and locals protocols. If a significant increase in infection were to occur, regression to the yolk would be possible.
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